In a recent issue of Golf Digest, longtime writer Dan Jenkins speaks to Tiger Woods on a wide range of topics including tipping at restaurants, his relationships with friends and his treatment of employees. Or, well, at least Jenkins' representation of Woods. The piece is written entirely by Jenkins, with a fictionalized account—a parody if you will—of the former world No. 1.
In most similar cases, athletes would likely issue a no-comment. Woods has instead fired back in a first-person column for The Players' Tribune, ripping Jenkins for alleged "character assassination" and Golf Digest for publishing the piece.
"Did you read Dan Jenkins' interview with me in the latest Golf Digest? I hope not. Because it wasn't me," Woods wrote. "It was some jerk he created to pretend he was talking to me. That's right, Jenkins faked an interview, which fails as parody, and is really more like a grudge-fueled piece of character assassination."
Woods and Jenkins have a historically contentious relationship. Arguably the greatest golf writer in history has thrown numerous public barbs at arguably the greatest golfer in history, most notably for Woods' openness (or lack thereof) with the media.
Contrasting the styles of former greats Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan against Woods, Jenkins essentially told Jake Silverstein of Texas Monthly that he believes the latter is an empty vessel.
"I never really knew Tiger. He won't let anybody know him," Jenkins said. "I think the reason is that he doesn't have anything to say. All he knows is how to hit a golf ball. All the other guys—Hogan read books, he was in the oil business, he was a huge football fan. We talked about football more than we talked about golf."
Woods uses the backdrop of his shared history with Jenkins to claim his Golf Digest piece comes from a mean-spirited grudge. In particular, Woods cites the following excerpts as being purposefully slanderous, to the point he's had to deny the accusations publicly:
Dan: "Why haven't you fired Steiny, by the way? You've fired everybody else …"
Tiger: "I'll probably get around to it. I like to fire people …"
Dan: "In many cases, tips are a part of their salary."
Tiger: "So let 'em go find a better job."
Dan: "Marko (O'Meara) was your best friend in golf at one time."
Tiger: "I'm sorry. I can't place him. Did he play the tour?"
"The truth is, Jenkins has no idea how I think or feel about any of the things he claims to know about, which is why he had to make things up," Woods wrote. "Frustration or resentment because I have not been more available to him should not give him a license for an underhanded attack on me as an athlete, as a professional and as a person."
Woods goes on to link the letter his management company sent Conde Nast, Golf Digest's parent company, in response to the story. The magazine responded by telling Woods it did not believe Jenkins' work crossed any ethical boundaries.
Jenkins has not commented specifically on Woods' accusations, but later spoke briefly about the piece on Twitter:
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